Disney’s reorganized ad-sales efforts bore fruit in the upfront marketplace, with double-digit CPM gains at ABC and high-single-digit increases at ESPN and Freeform.
The company did not comment on the results, but sources say revenue showed high-single-digit increases across the board on ABC as well as cable and kids. (The Disney Channels do not accept traditional spot buys but bring in significant sponsorship revenue.)
Broadcast networks have announced healthy increases in the upfront, as media buyers keep TV in their mix even as they increasingly look to digital platforms to deliver specific audiences. CBS and the CW both reported gains in recent weeks.
Disney’s digital sales rose 25% over 2017 levels, which in turn were up 20% over 2016. Pharmaceutical, consumer products, retail, technology and financial services were all noteworthy categories. Addressable deals — the kind of viewer-specific, targeted buys that AT&T is aiming to push via WarnerMedia, for example — soared 120% over last year.
ESPN, which has seen strong ratings for the NBA Playoffs and Wimbledon tennis in recent months, posted double-digit growth in volume and CPMs.
A reorg several months ago put advertising sales and ad tech in Kevin Mayer’s purview, along with all direct-to-consumer and international operations.
Among new ABC series, A Million Little Things, The Fix and Grand Hotel were all strong draws for advertisers, insiders said, and Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists fared well for Freeform.
Returning ABC shows American Idol, The Good Doctor and Black-ish all had pull, as did Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger and The Bold Type on Freeform and Disney Channel’s DuckTales.
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